For the purposes of this review we defined routine restraint as restraints used in a preventative manner to reduce the risk of escape or reduce the likelihood that a prisoner will harm themselves or others. This differs to restraint use in response to an incident, which is considered a use of force. Specific rules and reporting arrangements apply to the later, but do not apply when restraints are used as part of standard operating procedure.

The use of handcuffs and leg restraints can be used routinely inside and outside a facility. People who regularly refuse to follow instructions, or are frequently violent could be routinely restrained inside a prison. This is risk driven and done to ensure the safety of the facility, other prisoners and staff.

More commonly, restraints are applied routinely when people are required to leave the secure custodial facility and enter an unsecure environment. This occurs when people attend medical appointments, hospital treatment, or access leave on compassionate grounds to attend a funeral. Often restraints are applied as a matter of practice rather than individual risk assessment.

Another common cause for a person to leave the facility is to transfer between facilities or attend court. However, given they are being escorted from a secure facility to another secure location (secure court sally port) people are generally not required to be routinely restrained to be transferred.


Page last updated: June 24, 2020
Routine restraint of people in custody in Western Australia